Itazura Na Kiss [The Movie] Review

Hello.

It’s been quite a few months since I’ve reviewed anything on this site. I’m not going to make any promises but I am thinking of writing a review for the new Logan film as well as an animated film which was recently retitled as Leap, that I quite enjoyed. Obviously it was crucial and expected that I review Logan, fair warning, it completely ripped out my heart and had me wailing in the cinemas. Hey! Twenty bucks completely warrants the freedom to cry in a public place. The only thing shocking about it all was how everyone remained thoroughly composed about the whole thing and walked out of there so nonchalantly. Did nobody else just have their childhood stripped away from them?

I’m sorry, I’m getting rather carried away and we’re not even writing the Logan Film Review right now.

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Itazura na kiss. It’s been a story that has been told so many times before. We’ve seen an almost impossible amount of versions of it from almost all of the known Asian countries. It is a rather ridiculously overplayed storyline, however it’s almost become some sort of a classic in the whole romantic comedy community. The story is absolutely timeless.

For those of you who are new to the whole, shall we say, franchise. This story was originally written by Kaoru Tada – as a manga. This manga then inspired a haphazard Japanese drama adaptation in 1996 which in turn led onto an anime adaptation being aired in 2008. Since then, many Asian countries such as Taiwan, Korea and even Thailand have taken a shot at producing a live action drama series of their own. The title: イタズラなKiss directly translates to ‘teasing’ or ‘cheeky’ kiss. Whilst Japan has stayed with the name ‘イタズラなKiss’ most of the other countries decided to settle on titles such as ‘Playful Kiss’ (Korean adaptation) or ‘It Started With A Kiss’ (Taiwanese ver.).

Japan, of course being the original, decided to claim back the story by rebooting the franchise with ‘イタズラなKiss – Love in Tokyo’ in 2013, which was surprisingly well received by the fans. Of course, majority of the viewers were new to the story and were just completely enthralled by it all. Unfortunately, I couldn’t share the same views.

As a fan of the anime adaptation (I did visit the manga however, only skimmed through it since I was already entranced by the anime version) I found it completely unacceptable. Please don’t misunderstand, whilst Japanese Live Actions often have me curled up in a ball due to their sheer unrealistic and awkward delivery of lines, I have my own specific reasons for despising Japan’s second attempt at the franchise. My views may spark some controversy and due to this very reason I shall be disclosing my thoughts towards the end of this post because some readers may just want the quick movie adaptation review without it dragging on for too long.

With those readers’ interests at heart, the original イタズラなKiss storyline consists of an almost impossible love story that manages to form between people who are the definitions of ‘polar opposites’. Aihara Kotoko, the worst student in her third year of high school, begins the story by pouring her emotions into a love letter which is ultimately rejected by the most intelligent and admired male student body – Irie Naoki. Despite his absolutely intolerable attitude and insensitivity towards any sort of compassion, Kotoko continues pursuing him whilst living under the same roof as his family. The story is honestly incredibly long and intricate hence I hope my subpar synopsis managed to pique your interest enough to continue with this story.

イタズラなKiss [The Movie], due to the incredibly convoluted storyline, will ultimately form a trilogy as the movies will be specific to their high school life, their time in university and the events that ensue after they eventually get married. Don’t worry, I didn’t ‘spoil’ anything – if you don’t already know the events (which I highly doubt) – the movie titles completely give it away. They are as follows: High School, Campus Life and Proposal. The bottom line is, there’s a happy ending waiting for you at the very end; who wouldn’t be thrilled by that?

As a person who practically grew up loving the anime adaptation, skimmed through the manga, revisited the 1996 Japanese adaptation, enjoyed the Korean version and was thoroughly disappointed in Japan’s 2013 ‘Love In Tokyo’, I would like to consider myself as being worthy of critiquing any other adaptations that follow. This movie shall be no exception. Honestly, my initial reaction to this whole ‘movie’ concept was not the best. In all reality, I was still rather scarred by Japan’s 2013 attempt to even muster any sort of feeling towards this whole concept other than dread; much less enthusiasm.

To my surprise, I’m rather smitten with the movie. I’m not going to deceive you by proclaiming that this should be the ultimate version of this whole franchise, however I will say that it was a fairly great attempt at it. Sure, the over-exaggeration of the actors are very much evident and some of the casting choices that were made are rather questionable – despite all of this, I definitely did not regret having sat through it all. At this present point in time, only the first 2 films have been released – only one having been properly subbed in English. That may serve as an issue to most fans of the series and to those I have only one thing to say. ‘Patience’.

I wish that I were able to take up on my advice because I’m currently infatuated with it all and I’m waiting for the third instalment with bated breath. It is thoroughly surprising and I’m rather taken aback by it all myself, that I (out of all people) would be impatiently waiting for a Japanese live action movie to grace me with its presence. As you all know I am usually rather reluctant to subject myself to that sort of torture. In all seriousness, there is no extremely marvelous element in these new movie remakes that should warrant this sort of reaction from me however, regretfully, I have found myself rather smitten with the youthful male actor who managed to land the role as the latest Irie Naoki.

With this being said, these feelings and my high praise did not arise without substance. Truth be told, I was absolutely gutted and disappointed with Furukawa Yuki’s depiction of Naoki. I found it to be rather stiff and rigid with no sign of an actor putting in any effort at all. Please do not take any offense, I’m not against Furukawa Yuki as an actor in any sort of way. I am very much aware of his incredibly praise-worthy educational background, his talents of being bilingual and having the ability to ‘bust a move’, plus I’ve seen many of his previous performances before. I would gladly pin him as having been the ‘best’ actor in Kou Kou Debut. (Though that probably wouldn’t have been saying much.) However, he just clearly wasn’t right for the role of Naoki; acting abilities aside.

Casting him as the male lead of イタズラなKiss – Love In Tokyo- purely based on his ability to speak English with a tinge of an American accent and just because he fell within the height criteria should not be the only requirements for having made this casting call. Honestly, as a firm believer of having the cast fit the requirements of the character design – not to mention statistics – Yuki fell way out of the ball park. I’m not even talking about the fact that he was a 27 year-old playing a rather unconvincing role of a 17 year-old. The character of Naoki is far from ‘scrawny’ and he’s not characterised for his height; because it was obviously unnecessary for that to have been a stand out point when he merely scratches the average male height with just 178cm. Yuki’s decision to perpetually wear a scowl whilst in character was also something that I found to have been incredibly irritating and almost offensive towards the original character; at times.

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Maybe you should tell your actor to not encapsulate Naoki’s character with a perpetual scowl. Naoki is a human, he shows emotions. Did you not research your character at all?

 

[Yuki, take a page from Kashiwabara’s book. Naoki smiles and has more than one expression.]

Keeping all of this in mind, Sato Kanta – the latest Irie Naoki that has been hurled at us, to my surprise, seamlessly fit the part from his hairstyle, his built not to mention his ability to actually breathe some sort of life into his character. I’m not going to be completely biased by not disclosing the fact that, yes, his actions and deliveries were stiff at times but he didn’t play the part of a scowling robot and thus, once pitched alongside Yuki’s depiction, he receives a gold star. I found myself enjoying his take on Irie. Sure, it’s not perfect but neither was Kashiwabara’s attempt in ’96, bottom line being that they were both incredibly close. It was almost nostalgic as Kanta, in costume, greatly reminded me of Kashiwabara’s Naoki. Which honestly had me smiling all the way through.

In terms of the rest of the cast, I wouldn’t exactly applaud the casting directors for their decisions. Whilst I greatly thank them for having selected Sato Kanta, I still find it completely unfathomable how they thought Matsumoto’s actress fit the part of an 18 year-old. Many have also been extremely unhappy with Reina having been cast as Aihara Kotoko. Honestly, it’s a little unsettling hearing people claim that Reina ‘stole’ former Kotoko’s (Miki’s) depiction of the character. Miki’s skin-crawling over-exaggeration was incredibly difficult to watch, as I’ve stated before, I haven’t even mentioned the fact that it was incredibly ridiculous to have cast a 17 year-old as a 26 year-old. Speaking of ages, Reina has been slightly criticised for being a 21 year-old playing an 18 year-old but aren’t we all forgetting that Kotoko’s character ages as the story goes on? If anything, Reina’s age provides some sort of flexibility with the timeline. Which I sincerely commend the casting director for having thought through it all.

Whilst we’re discussing the issue of timelines, this film series has unexpectedly not to mention swiftly altered the timeline of the story’s events to suit the medium of this being a film. Seeing as this has not been attempted as of yet, I’m rather impressed that the scriptwriters handled it all so well. It was also strangely refreshing to experience some alterations whilst retaining all of the stories’ core events. Having seen all of these important matters being handled with careful thought, I’m very much keen to see how they carry out the events in the third instalment.

If remaining true to the manga is incredibly vital to you, I would like to reassure you that this movie does a fairly impressionable job at just that. Unlike Japan’s 2013 attempt, they did not forget to include the athletics festival scene. Truthfully, this may have been one of my favourite scenes in the first movie. It was invigorating watching Naoki attempt to catch Kotoko instead of simply falling on top of her. I really want to thank the scriptwriters for having added that little detail in. Honestly, that wasn’t even in the anime version, much less the manga. In all honesty, even the anime version deviates from the original manga. For example, in the manga Kotoko carries on to be a teacher whilst the anime and every other adaptation features her as just having been a nurse. The reason is simple and truthfully, rather saddening. The original manga was never fully completed due to the author having prematurely passed on. (It is completely unnecessary to go into any detail however it did involve her moving houses and having hit her head on some sort of furniture.)

Truth be told, I could most probably critique the actors commitment to their respective characters till the end of time and I’m not sure if you’ve sensed that I’ve been trying to restrain myself throughout this entire post. With that now being out in the open, I found Kanta’s portrayal of Naoki to be incredibly kind. Which was a surprisingly refreshing change. I loved it. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still not exactly approachable but this version of Irie managed to actually ‘melt my heart’ in a sense; and I’m not referring to the kissing scenes. For example, he rubs out her mistakes whilst tutoring her, he never actually yells at her, he lends her his towel after having suggested that she should have asked to share an umbrella with him and he whispers those (those words that have Kotoko completely misunderstanding the current situations) lines, almost as if they were ‘sweet nothings’ instead of simply delivering them in the usual sleazy manner.

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In short, I really appreciated his attempt.

Again, this does not at all mean that I found it to have been perfect.

Itazura Na Kiss – The Movie really just offers a slightly alternative take on the classic however for those who are not particularly categorized as being avid fans of the original this version really all boils down to the question of : Would you like to see the events you’ve seen before in a quickly summarised and slightly alternative version?

 

 

 

 

La La Land – Film Review

I’m not one to pay attention to the Golden Globes however it was absolutely impossible to stay ignorant about the explosion that the film La La Land seemed to have caused towards the end of 2016. Even for someone, who has ‘A Rock’ sprawled as my home address, to hear of such ludicrousy just automatically categorized this movie as a ‘must-watch’. I have always had a soft spot for classic old school films and hearing Hollywood having a crack at producing a film utilizing such a style once again definitely intrigued me. Hence, I sat down with my family one afternoon and we watched it; I swear you could smell the enthusiasm in the air. We’re looking at a film that managed to nab all of the Golden Globes that they were nominated for!

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The opening was amazing. The song was excellent, the dance sequence was great and oh the many bright colours. However, all of that anticipation quickly turned to boredom as I managed to win a bet with my family by pinpointing all of the film’s events within the first fifteen minutes. The film was predictable, slow and tiresome as we all lost count of how many times Ryan Gosling sang ‘City of Stars’. Sure, I applaud him for learning the sequence to it on the piano but honestly being amazed at the fact that ‘he can sing’ is not considered to be a selling point in this film. They had to incorporate John Legend for no apparent reason for crying out loud! I wouldn’t exactly consider Ryan to be tone-deaf but the sheer boredom in that monotonous singing melody of his was ridiculous. It’s unfathomable that he managed to snag a Golden Globe with that performance!

I will not lie. Some of the tunes on the La La Land Movie Soundtrack are definitely worth another listen. ‘Another Day of Sun’, ‘Someone In The Crowd’ and ‘Summer Montage/ Madeline’ would be my top three. With that being said, if I were to ever hear ‘City of Stars’ being hummed, sung or being played in any sort of form; someone’s just begging to have their eye gouged out. I’m not even kidding.

Unique? Classic? Lies.

La La Land’s attempt at returning to the whole Broadway scene was honestly very dissatisfying. Wearing a fancy dress and doing a little jig while hitting a few notes – missing a few notes (more like) for Ryan – does not automatically categorise the film as  worthy of being compared to the classics. As a fan of many classic Broadway films such as Singing in the Rain, My Fair Lady and maybe even The Sound of Music, La La Land does not even come close. Here’s a prediction, this film may have been miraculously (ridiculously) hyped up through the internet and the Golden Globes but it honestly lacks any sort of creativity or outstanding performances.

Don’t strain your eyeballs, I can feel your critical stares from over here.

It’s no lie.

Name one earth-shattering performance in that film that truly warranted those 7 Golden Globe Awards. It’s obviously not Emma or Ryan. I can tell you that this film really was not a testament towards Ryan’s acting capabilities. Sure, we’ve pointed out the whole dancing, instrument playing and singing thing but we’ve also rightfully knocked them down. Honestly, without even pointing out those extra details, there was really nothing extraordinary about his performance either. Wasn’t it odd how eerily similar his monologue to Emma was to Rachel McAdams? I’m serious, it’s been twelve years! And yet he delivers the exact same speech comprising of the exact same words with the exact same ‘finger-jabbing’ motion.  You would’ve at least thought that he’d developed some sort of range in acting over the past decade. Alas, just as Ryan has shown no signs of aging, his acting capabilities has shown no sign of growth.

Some may say that this film encapsulated the raw emotions and obstacles faced by budding performers who undergo the ever-growing struggles of lacking acknowledgement for one’s art. I may not completely relate to this film in such a sense however, I’ve just recently viewed the film: SING. Sure, maybe it does not exactly correlate to La La Land; for starters, it’s an animated film. Both share a similar underlying theme in terms of highlighting the trial and tribulations of aspiring performers but let’s just settle one thing. That film triggered my water works and yet La La Land has yet to receive a single tear from me.  I wonder if that says it all.

I wouldn’t exactly consider La La Land to be a terrible film or a miss. However I will say that it was rather disappointing that a film, such as this, managed to stow away 7 Golden Globes. One thing’s for sure, Ryan Gosling’s definitely thanking his stars for turning down the chance to play the Beast. He managed to skip the prosthetics and still score a Golden Globe.

 

Kingsman – The Secret Service [Film Review]

I haven’t had the energy to write these past couple of weeks; which would explain the lack of my promised Tom Holland post on LinnTellsAStory. However, all is well because even though I am currently stumbling through the day on a measly two hours of shuteye, my newfound love for the 2014 film : Kingsman just will not let me rest. To be honest, I’m slightly kicking myself for not having viewed this film sooner. It’s been out for two years! Of course, there was the whole past two years of examination madness but I feel like I’ve whipped out that excuse way too often; or at least more than I’d care to admit.

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Of course, it’s a wonder that I didn’t touch it despite the fact that Colin Firth has both his name and face plastered all over this marvellous film. Truthfully, it pains me to admit this but I actually found myself more attracted to his little apprentice instead. I couldn’t help it, Taron Egerton just drew me in with his heavy accent and down-to-earth character. In fact, he was the main reason I decided to finally give this film a watch. After going to the movies to watch the new film, SING (I know! I actually went to the cinemas!), him acting as the voice of the adorable soulful gorilla just completely captivated me. Did you not hear him sing ‘I’m Still Standing’? I am fully aware that Elton John’s an amazing legend. And I love majority of his songs but I really do prefer Taron Egerton’s version of the song much better.

You’ve just felt the overwhelming urge to stop reading this altogether, haven’t you?

That aside, Kingsman is a film that can truly stand alongside legendary film series such as James Bond, Mission Impossible and maybe even Jason Bourne. I’m not saying that it shares the same genre because that would be the biggest laugh of the century. No. Kingsman is far from it all. Sure, all three action series feature some blood and most of the deaths involved could be considered a tad bit extreme. However, Kingsman takes this all to the next level in more ways than one. From the gruesome deaths, the swearing and, of course, the fantastic comedy it brings to the screen; this film claims the first place for all of these fundamental points. I actually found myself appreciating the explicit language throughout the entire film- what? I really did. But of course its usage was fairly explanatory, it is after all an English production.

The film follows ‘Eggsy’, a talented social misfit, as his life takes a turn for the better after being offered a chance to be a Kingsman. Under Harry’s (Colin Firth) recommendation and guidance, ‘Eggsy’ trains and overcomes obstacles on his quest to becoming a true gentleman. Things get messy as lives are lost, backs are stabbed and Samuel L. Jackson tries his best to play a comedic villain whilst hiding under a terrible lisp accompanied by a baseball cap.

Yes, I did just try my best to deliver a synopsis without revealing any sort of spoilers. It was pretty terrible; I do know that so let’s up the tempo a little by unveiling some of my honest thoughts.

I’m not a terribly big fan of any of the spy movies disclosed above. That is not to say that I do not watch them; it’s just that I probably wouldn’t intentionally view them over again. With that being said, I’m completely ready to sit through another round of Kingsman. Its perfect blend of comedy and action just hits the spot for me and I wouldn’t hesitate in shouting to the world : ‘Kingsman is the best spy film ever’. Many avid fans of the genre may not necessarily agree with this statement but I really do absolutely love it.

Whilst Eggsy kicked off the film with an incredibly reckless attitude, his display of loyalty and kindness was absolutely heartwarming and it instantly won me over. Sure, he might have slowly grown into a gentleman and matured throughout the film as he slowly made his way to becoming a Kingsman but what I truly admire was how he wouldn’t go against his morals for the sake of securing a position. He grew to love his little pug, he provided support for Roxy and when the time came for him to shoot JB. He wouldn’t do it.

Speaking of which, Harry (Colin Firth) clearly said that it was a blank and that there was no bullet in the gun. However, when Roxy took the shot there was indeed a very distinctive gun fire. If what Colin had said was indeed true, a blank would not have caused such a loud noise; which brings me to the reason as to why I am on the offence towards Roxy’s character. Even if the barrel was empty, how could you live with the fact that you threw away your humanity for the sake of joining an extremely violent secret spy agency?

With the immense success from the first film, there will be a second instalment that will be released next year; on my birthday – the 29th of September. (Which just makes me feel incredibly overjoyed) However, I’m not sure about Channing Tatum and Halle Berry starring in it. To me, I feel like it might ruin the beauty of the film, that we had loved from the first one. There’s just something about everyone being English and from the UK that really drew me in. However, I think I wouldn’t mind it so much if both Channing and Halle turned out to be the antagonists because it would make more sense. Honestly, if Channing turns out to be part of the Kingsman, I’m calling quits.

With all of that being said, Kingsman: The Secret Service was completely exhilarating and here’s to a wonderful second instalment!

 

Spider-Man: Homecoming Official Trailer – First Impression

Hello.

I’m currently in Malaysia and still completely behind on my blog post uploads however, the official Spider-man trailer for the 2017 film was finally released yesterday and I felt like since I was already running late for the other posts, I should just take the time out to write this one up whilst it’s still relatively new. I had previously intended to upload a post about Tom Holland on my other blog: Linn Tells A Story, however due to my week being incredibly hectic, I didn’t have the luxury of just sitting down and writing it all out. I will however, definitely upload that post sometime next week. It’s going to be great so please check that out here, when I do post it.

Yesterday, was an extremely long day for me.

The night before, it was announced that the new Homecoming trailer would be released on Jimmy Kimmel Live at 11:35PM (LA time?) and obviously my being in Malaysia means that it would be towards the late morning before I would be able to watch it due to the time difference and everything. For those of you who are not yet aware, I’m currently in Malaysia and I’ll remain in Malaysia for around 2 months where I’ll be working as an intern for a company. Therefore, during this time yesterday, I was stationed at my office desk during work and I was completely unable to watch the new trailer because it would be rather unprofessional to begin watching Spider-Man trailers  whilst stationed at the office desk.

Of course, I was completely tardy to the party; in this situation, the whole trailer madness that had all Tom Holland fans hyperventilating. I was only able to finally experience the trailer after work and of course, I paused the video several times and screamed (thankfully, nobody was home). Not because the trailer was absolutely phenomenal, more so the fact that I was extremely excited that Tom Holland finally broke through and had his own solo film.

After my adrenaline rush died down, I really hate to say this but I just have to be honest and voice out the fact that, I found the trailer incredibly underwhelming. I love Tom Holland, I really do and I want nothing but for him to be successful and happy. However, my integrity for Spider-Man still remains and I just can’t find it within me to blindly ignore it just because of Tom’s presence. I really can’t. I love Spider-Man too much to be able to do it.

I am aware that Marvel is extremely eager to tie everything into the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe but I really didn’t want it to end up like this. True. Spider-Man was undeniably the apex of Captain America:Civil War; if not the best bit. However, I did have one little tiny qualm about how it all played out. I don’t know about you but, to me, the allure of Spider-Man was the fact that he was just an average teenage kid who’s incredibly intelligent. Taking the fact that he designed and created his own official costume into consideration, he (to me) was a true superhero. Sure, he does technically have radioactive blood flowing through him. But on top of that, he invented his web shooter, he manufactures his own web and he designed his own official suit. He, much like Iron Man, can survive as a solo superhero that relies on nobody else.

Unlike the other Marvel Superheroes such as Captain America, Thor, War Machine or Scott Lang’s Ant-Man(Just to name a few), who had to rely on others in order to play their part as a superhero. For example, Captain was injected with (essentially) ‘superhero steroids’ in order to gain super human strength. His costume was also supplied and funded by S.H.I.E.L.D. His biggest asset, his shield, was designed and made by Tony Stark’s father. Adding onto that, Thor was born to be a god so I’m absolutely certain that it would be completely unnecessary for me to attempt to explain anything. You get the point.

With all of that in mind, I felt that with this new reboot, they were taking everything that I loved about Spider-Man and just tossing it into the nearest waste bin. It’s cool, I’ll admit it. I do love the whole Iron-Man and Spider-Man combination. It’s epic. The idea is definitely genius. Both of them are my two favourite Marvel Superheroes, what do you expect me to say? But for me, I am just absolutely against the idea of Iron-Man designing the final and official version of Spider-Man’s suit. I don’t care if this is another universe, this completely obstructs Spider-Man’s whole creativity process. I’m okay with the upgrades, but the fact that Spider-Man’s only creation of his suit was that jumpsuit, before Tony Stark swooped in, is just disappointing.

Another aspect of Spider-Man that really made me gravitate towards him. Was the fact that his identity was a secret. He was just an unknown student amidst the masses. He could do whatever he wanted, save whoever he wanted and just be the superhero that he wanted to be. With this new version, he’s a kid who finds himself constantly reporting to Tony Stark and it just feels a little too constricted. What happened to complaining about not have time for school because he bears this heavy responsibility of being Spider-Man and protecting the people of New York?

I love Tony Stark, his bluntness and his dry character are the best. And honestly, I really do not want to see a version of a Tony who worries about consequences and actually verbally voices out his concerns. Wasn’t he the one who tried to convince Peter to go to Germany and brushed off the fact that Peter had school? Didn’t Peter almost reject the chance to join Team Iron Man? What happened to those characters? What happened to the reluctant Peter and the reckless Tony? I don’t care if I love both Robert and Tom, if things aren’t lining up then it’s just unacceptable. What am I supposed to do with all of this now?

I felt like that acting skills were seriously lacking as well. Which is really disappointing. I’m not sure if I’m just used to seeing Tom acting in serious films where his performances are so emotional but I felt that there was just something missing. It might be because of the pressure of trying to portray Peter Parker or it might be the fact that he’s not used to playing the part of a teenager who is embarrassed or in love. If you look back on his prior movies, he usually specialises in more of the emotional aspect of things.

Another element of the whole movie that I’d like to address, is this whole ‘let’s just go out of our way to include as much colour as possible so we can gain more brownie points’ thing. What are they doing? I get that in this whole day and age, we’ve got to seem unnecessarily politically correct but this just seems like a whole racial inclusion pity party right now.

I’m not racist.

If race is an issue then I’m just going to point out that I’m a person of colour. Yellow colour. I’m Asian; specifically Chinese. But this is just going a little overboard here because just look at it! Tom’s the only Caucasian one there! Why did the casting director and staff feel the need to be so blatantly obvious in the way they announce that they’re not racist? Why is race even a factor or issue here?

Cause heck, if we’re going to get so technical about racial inclusion, where the hell are all the Chinese people at? And don’t you dare try and say that this guy is Chinese because hey, now you’re one hell of a racist.

Don’t even try to just say that you can gloss if over by saying that he represents all Asian people. But I’m not kicking up a fuss about this. I don’t care if they include Chinese people or not. But you gotta stay true.

For example, Zendaya is not a Caucasian with black hair.

MICHELE IS WHITE. (Her name is Michele Gonzales and it is spelt with only one L. Seriously, they are actually spelling the name incorrectly)

JUST LIKE HOW PETER PARKER IS WHITE.

It’s the exact same reasoning behind the fact that Marvel is never going to cast an Asian person as Spider-Man. It’s not about being racist. It just ain’t right. It’s exactly like how Avatar the Last Air-bender cast Indians to play the Chinese people of the Fire Nation. Now if I remember correctly, that was just the best choice ever.  It just isn’t right.

I feel awful for not ABSOLUTELY loving the trailer and what I’ve seen so far of the film. But I just have to say that I really hope that Marvel and Sony picked all the mediocre scenes for the trailer because if these are the highlights, I don’t know how much more disappointment I can handle.

 

 

 

Bridget Jones’s Baby – Film Review

Great news.

I am officially back; and staying.

I have just finished my final WACE examinations which ultimately means that I am finally done with my twelve years of compulsory schooling and ready to move onto the next stage of my life. Adulthood. I’m sure we’ll continue this great conversation on my other blog: LinnTellsAStory , as today we have much more exciting matters to deal with. Such as the final Bridget Jones film instalment that our inner 2001 selves never thought would come. Before we get into any nitty gritty details I just have to get one thing off of my chest. Jones’s. I’m not sure if my grammar skills are failing me right now but grammatically speaking, shouldn’t it be written as Jones’?

Just something to think about.

This film is fairly recent so I’ll try my best not to disclose any spoilers without warning. In this final instalment to our Bridget Jones trilogy, we join Bridget once again as she’s alone. She’s childless, without a spouse and completely alone. However, we’re instantly shown the positives as she’s finally climbed up to a respectable position in her office and she’s finally achieved her desired physique. Her somewhat perfect life is short-lived however as she constantly encounters her ex-boyfriend (Mark Darcy) and despite the fact that Hugh Grant’s out of the picture, Bridget awkwardly crosses paths with Perfect Jack (Patrick Dempsey). Of course, typical to any Bridget Jones film, the consummation of love inevitably takes place however this time, it unfortunately results in wedlock. Oh no, that’s not the worst part – Bridget has no idea who the father may be. And thus, chaos ensues.

I can’t restrain myself any longer; queue the spoilers.

As many of you have seen from the many trailers, Ed Sheeran managed to make his appearance into this film; which is incredibly impressive. I’m a huge fan of his and to see his career completely flourish like this, it’s amazing. This isn’t Ed’s first acting debut since he’s already made a few television appearances, for example, he appeared on Home and Away as himself. Fans of Ed Sheeran will easily pick up on the inner jokes such as people not recognising him and asking him to take photos for them; instead of with them. This was actually based on true events that Ed has in fact experienced. A few years ago, a couple of people asked Ed to take a photo of them, however Ed mistakingly assumed that they wanted a photo with him. I wouldn’t be surprised if Ed was the one who suggested that they include that particular scene.

However, Ed Sheeran was such a minuscule part of the film; we’re here to focus on Bridget Jones. I do have a confession to make. Bridget Jones is a character that is very relatable. She’s not a perfect person. She started off alone, she smoked, she embarrasses herself in public, she’s not the best worker in the office and the list goes on. There are aspects of her that everyone can find themselves relating to and I felt that this film gave people (particularly women) hope. It sent out this message that it didn’t matter how imperfect you were, there would be a Mr Darcy out there for you. A person that would love you no matter what and this person will be perfect and just accept all of your bullshit with a smile. It sounds ridiculous but the whole concept really did give people hope.

Of course, a few years ago, I would’ve completely and wholeheartedly embraced this idea because I am not a perfect person. I am thoroughly flawed in more ways than one and I think that the idea of waiting for someone and not making any effort to improve myself would’ve sounded incredibly appealing. However, I have completely changed my perspective over the years and have come to realise that relying on finding solace in someone else’s presence is an ideology that sounds absolutely dreadful. That is why whilst viewing this film, I found myself disagreeing with many of Bridget’s actions.

Some may have completely disagreed with Bridget’s 43-year old self spending the night with a perfect stranger during a music festival but surprisingly I am not at all adverse to this idea. She’s already reached the age of 40, she has no kids and no sign of a lover; which ultimately means she has no responsibility. And Jack’s a great guy that has still retained an interest in her despite already experiencing her face first in the mud; literally. I think when you reach a certain age in life you just automatically gain the right to just live life in whichever way that you desire.

Her using expired vegan dolphin condoms on another hand was just unbelievable. For a woman that spent the first two films sleeping with two different men, how is it possible for her to think that using condoms, that expired decades ago, is somewhat effective in acting as a form of contraception? I’m not sure what the writers were thinking but this very big detail was just unbelievable.

However, her level of maturity is incredibly disheartening. First of all, ignoring the fact that she wasn’t aware that Gangnam was a place, it was just utterly painful to see her lose complete interest in Gangnam after Mr Darcy explained the history to her. I know that many of you will disagree with my point here but if we just cast our minds back to Edge of Reason, Bridget didn’t even know where Germany was located. It’s just a little thing that bugged me.

Of course, there was the whole Team Jack and Team Mark situation however, honestly speaking even though I completely sided with Mark Darcy for the first two films, Jack was just clearly the better man. He said that he was completely against having children and yet when he found out Bridget was pregnant, he planned out a whole relationship full of romance and fights, he looked forward to raising a child with her and he was also the first to wholeheartedly accept their awkward predicament. On the other hand, Mark instantly left when Jack hinted that there might be a high possibility that Bridget’s unborn son was his instead of Mark’s. Yeah, Team Mark isn’t looking good.

That’s what I thought until Mark Darcy thought of his first official meeting with Bridget and the throwback montage had me pining for the couple. Honestly, even though their relationship is rather fragile once it cools down, they’re both so wrong for each other that they’re perfect for each other in their own warped way.

Truthfully speaking, this third instalment felt surprisingly empty without the presence of Hugh Grant and his childish fights with Colin. I do understand that Hugh wants to distance himself from the romantic comedy genre but suggesting that Hugh’s character died was just heartbreaking for me. I am quite thankful for the presence of Jack because he provided most of the comedy relief. And yes, the pregnant Bridget relay did have me staring at a blurry screen; courtesy of the tears .

Final words? It certainly wasn’t the best but it did provide the closure we were in need of.

「ちはやふる -上の句」Chiyahafuru Live Action Movie – Kami no Ku Review

It’s here. It’s finally here. The Chihayafuru live action movie that most of us have been waiting for, for at least 6 months, is finally here.

As you all know, I finally released a Chihayafuru anime review this year, which was dreadful because it turned out to be more of a rant of ‘which couple would surface and claim victory out of probably the best love triangle formed since’ … actually I don’t know. Quite frankly, this may be the best love triangle ever due to the lack of frustration that it brings to one’s gentle heart. (Please do forgive my oddly structured sentences and my choice of language. I’ve just stumbled out of watching Bridget Jones’ Diary and you do not wish to be in my head right now because that English accent is quite contagious; not to mention it is getting rather annoying.)

Now as you all know, I’m not a big fan of live actions. In fact, I rather dread them. Examples… Ao Haru Ride and LDK (Those are just a few). I’m not quite sure whether it’s the unnecessary over-acting or the butchering of the story line or simply, the poor casting choice – take your pick out of that list because whatever it is, I can’t seem to stand any of them. Many may disagree, however many may also lack the integrity of staying true to the original and  just the general appreciation of quality acting. I mean, if their sole career is to stand in front of a camera and they receive more than the average blue collar worker for doing so, they should at least be bloody well capable of acting.

With that being said, I do find that live-action dramas are a lot better than the movies. It is true. They are better.

However, despite my very apparent prejudice against live-action movies, Chihayafuru – Kami no Ku fared rather well. I did enjoy watching it though I do have some qualms about the slight alterations that the directors and writers established. I do understand that many of those reading this review right now may have not yet experienced the splendor of viewing the movie and so I will ‘tip-toe’ around the general outline of it all and will set off a warning signal before diving into all of the technical details; as my reviews usually do.

For the rare few that have not previously watched the anime or read the manga, this movie will be excellent. Sure, some of the slight over-exaggeration -in terms of acting- may be a little cringe-worthy and hard to handle at the beginning but it fades away rather quickly. I wasn’t sure if the acting abilities developed as they filmed or whether I just grew accustomed to it all but the over-acting was not an urgent problem in this movie at all. Now, I’m abnormally stubborn and, to me, it’s important that any remakes must follow the original. Especially if the original did it right. More specifically, all details must remain true. If this isn’t a major concern for you, or if you have not yet experienced the original anime and manga, this movie is great. The alterations that were made weren’t necessarily bad, it was just that I’m unnecessarily picky about certain things.

[Spoilers shall now be disclosed from this point on wards]

 

There were some minor details that bugged me a little but once I got passed it, it did work. It didn’t ruin Chihayafuru or made it odd in anyway. However, needless to say, the original anime and manga combo will never be beaten. The directors of this film project decided that it would be better to alter the timing for all of the events. We’re immediately thrown into the story, instead of being gently placed in through the huge flashback of how the trio formed their friendship, and the movie opens up with Chihaya just before her Queen match. Which, for those who have been keeping up with the manga, know that that hasn’t happened yet. But after this major foreshadowing, I’m sure we’ll be able to witness this soon in the manga. Now there are also rumours that there will be a third film (for those who don’t already know, there has been a second Chihayafuru live action film, however the subs for that have not yet been released. And unfortunately no RAWS have been made available as of yet) in 2018.

The timeline changes were a big deal for me because they delayed the death of Arata’s grandfather. Which, of course, meant that Arata didn’t have that whole ‘douche bag’ moment throughout this whole entire movie. I was also slightly disappointed that the scene, where Arata basically slapped Chihaya through their first phone call, was removed. I mean, I was using that as a reason to validate why I was on Team Taichi. Now that you’ve taken that away, I’m rapidly running out of reasons. (Only joking, Taichi’s still my number one.)

Speaking of Arata’s actor, I greatly admire him for taking on the task of picking up the whole Fukui dialect. Honestly, I love the Fukui dialect. I’m a big fan of the outskirt country accents and it’s just great. I’m not sure if he’s nailing it or not because I’m pretty sure that the original Arata voice actor also had to pick up the Fukui dialect for the part. Now, I wouldn’t say that he’s perfect for the Arata role but he’s done a great job. I know that he’s a huge heartthrob at the moment because he’s up and coming plus he’s from America so he speaks ‘fluent’ English. However, I’m not a huge fan of his English and I don’t know if he appeals to me that way. Either way, I hope he has a great career.

I was somewhat ‘okay’ with Taichi’s actor, however after watching Sukina Hito Ga Iru Koto, I just couldn’t see him as Taichi at all. In fact, my mind was extremely against it. You see, in SHGIK, he played a boy that was a player, a smoker and a horrible student that skipped classes. Now, I didn’t HATE this character but he was just so different from Taichi. I know that the actor actually has an extremely chill character and he’s really into riding BMX and all of that, which is pretty much the polar opposite of Taichi. All I have to say is, try to refrain from watching SHGIK before watching Chihayafuru; maybe then he’ll be a better Taichi for you. (I don’t hate the casting role for this)

Other than that, I was pretty satisfied with the casting choices. Sure, Nikuman could’ve been a little bit chubbier and they could’ve hacked off Tsukue’s hair a little bit more but other than that, it was pretty great. Nikuman’s character didn’t seem to  line up exactly with the anime and manga version however, I saw how the actor brought his own character to the role and I would prefer that over him trying to mirror the original and failing so I applaud him for his performance and his acting choice. Now, I was a tad bit confused with their casting choice for Tsukue’s actor but after he opened his mouth, all my doubts went away. Did you not notice that his voice was eerily similar to the original? Now, I’m not saying that they sound exactly the same, but it’s close enough.

Overall, I did appreciate the movie though I do wonder why they chose to make three separate movies. After all, since they’ll be producing that many shouldn’t they have just chose the route of producing an entire drama series? However, I have no qualms about their choice. I have also seen the behind-the-scenes while they were making the film and there is one thing that I really appreciate from live-actions that are based on sport animes/ mangas. The producers really make sure that the actors train and train until they master the sport before they even begin any sort of production. For example, the Prince of Tennis live-action movie (which was pretty cringey… though it did make me like Hongo Kanata so no complaints). It was no different for this one. The actors did have to learn how to play Offensive Karuta and they had to keep training until they had blisters on their feet from kneeling properly on the tatami mats. I really do applaud that dedication. The actor that played Arata also displayed his skills on live television where he played Karuta with the hosts. His reactions really were immediate and after that even I was convinced that he made a pretty great Arata.

If you haven’t already seen this movie. I urge you to do so, especially if you have not yet witnessed the splendor of Chihayafuru. It’s a really great live-action movie that could really actually be easily passed off as a stand alone film too. I look forward to the second instalment.